Feeds

Enthusiastic power users still a danger?

How much freedom is too much?

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Reg reader workshop Some would argue that it all started with Lotus 123 back in the 80s. When the early spreadsheets emerged and users seized on them as a way of solving their own information requirements, IT's control of the organisation's data started to gradually slip away. We could put all of the security and integrity checks we liked into central systems, but it all counted for nought as soon as the user exported a snapshot of the data and starting manipulating it and distributing it offline.

As we got into the 90s, chaos really started to set in. The desktop PC became truly ubiquitous, driven by both Microsoft Office and the first generation of Client Server technology. Then someone invented ODBC, allowing pretty much anything to hook into the databases that underpinned operational systems. Soon there was an explosion in the number of desktop query, reporting and "productivity" tools that allowed users to get straight to relational data.

And the more users gained access to the corporate crown jewels, the more demanding they became. The IT department found itself constantly nagged by users wanting to know where to look for information, how to combine things from different sources to get the result they wanted, and how to fix things when it didn't quite work out the way they intended.

Of course, some of the enthusiasts didn't ask, they just took weeks of time out from doing their day job to set up elaborate data extraction, merging, and manipulation mechanisms using their armoury of query tools, spreadsheets, and desktop databases to create their own little view of the world.

Then the real fun came when they proudly took the results of their toils to the next management meeting and discovered that an equally enthusiastic and enterprising colleague had been through a similar DIY exercise and come up with a different set of numbers that didn't match. Whole meetings then became hijacked by trying to work out how people had arrived at their set of numbers and which particular version of the truth was actually correct, rather than dealing with the real business at hand.

But that was the 80s and 90s - history that is long behind us. Clearly since that time query and reporting technology has advanced considerably, systems are a lot better integrated than they were, data warehouses are in place to serve up information conveniently and coherently to users, and experience has been gained on how to avoid the kinds of issue we have been discussing. We would imagine, therefore, that organisations generally have their act together much more effectively today.

So is this true?

Well, you tell us. Is there a different breed of power user out there now that can quickly, efficiently, and safely generate the information they need, or is it still a case of enthusiastic amateurs wasting huge amounts of time producing dubious output when they should be getting on with their "real" job? Either way, how much of a hassle is it for IT departments supporting enthusiasts and power users, and what are the most common issues you are dealing with?

We'd love to hear your stories and opinions in our discussion below.

Freeform Dynamics Home
www.freeformdynamics.com

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.